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Pavelski on Hanging With Jumbo Last Night, Karlsson’s Spectacular Season

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Credit: AP Photo/Tony Avelar

What keeps Joe Pavelski ticking?

Four years since the San Jose Sharks let their then 34-year-old captain and heart of the team walk in free agency, Pavelski has 44 points in 45 games this season, second on the Western Conference-leading Dallas Stars.

“Always have a lot of fun. We love this game. Try to stay fresh, obviously. Health is a big part of it along the way. Just really enjoy the game and get out there work on a few things,” the 38-year-old centerman, who just re-signed with the Stars for next season, shared this morning. “We got a fun group. It’s been a fun year. That definitely goes along the way with winning games, which keeps it fun and keeps you working.”

Speaking of the work, Pavelski is famous for his dedication to his craft, like his routine of practicing tip shots before practice with Brent Burns. He credited San Jose Sharks legends Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau for instilling that work ethic in him from his rookie season in 2006-07 on.

“I understood early in my career being around Jumbo and Patty and all those guys that you want to make a career out of it, do as much as you can to stay here as long as you can,” he said. “And then just want more.”

Speaking of Thornton and Marleau, Pavelski took advantage of the Dallas team day off in San Jose yesterday to see Thornton, among other familiar faces. They got to talking about Marleau’s jersey retirement, set to take place on Feb. 25 at SAP Center, and the alumni game the night before.

“Maybe we’ll come back and play in that alumni game,” Pavelski joked. “Last night, we were laughing about it.”

The Stars, by the way, play in Vegas on Feb. 25, and no, I seriously doubt that the still-active Pavelski is coming the night before to don a San Jose Sharks jersey in an exhibition contest.

For Pavelski, drafted by the Sharks in the seventh round in 2003, and one of the last icons of the franchise’s golden age still in the league, coming back to San Jose is always special.

He had this to say about something special going with today’s Sharks, in the form of ex-teammate Erik Karlsson, who’s on pace to be the first defenseman since Brian Leetch in 1991-92 to crack 100 points: “He’s making it look really easy. He’s playing great. He’s moving good. He has confidence with the puck. He wants it. When he has it, he seems to be doing whatever he wants with it. It’s good to see.

“That’s the type of player I think we all knew he was, and he’s shown it. He’s having as good a year as any.”

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